Nike/US Lacrosse Boys' West Season Rewind
by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com
Year-End Top 10
1. Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.), 20-1
2. Regis Jesuit (Colo.), 16-1
3. Bellevue (Wash.), 20-2
4. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 15-4
5. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 19-2
6. St. Ignatius (Calif.), 14-5
7. Issaquah (Wash.), 19-4
8. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 16-6
9. Eastside Catholic (Wash.), 17-1
10. Marin Catholic (Calif.), 16-7
Nate Marano broke the school points record with 111 and its an early commit to Denver. (Photo via Twitter)
West Player of the Year
Nate Marano, Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.)
Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.) attackman Nate Marano has the uncanny ability to come up with a big play in the most crucial situations.
Often, he leaves Knights coach Jon Fox simply shaking his head.
"The best description of Nate is that he continually makes big plays, in big games, at big times and you think how did he just do that," Fox said
Marano, a rising senior, finished with 87 goals and 24 assists this season. He had 31 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers/takeaways. He also led Foothill to the Orange County and CIF-Southern Section titles and is Lacrosse Magazine's West region Player of the Year.
His 111 points broke the all-time Foothill points record, previously held by Cameron Cole at 105 (2010). Marano also surpassed the previous goals record of 76 held by Eric Adamson (2011). The key for this season was how much Marano has continued to improve, Fox said.
In 2013, he had 52 goals and 25 assists, so it was a 35-goal improvement over last year, while keeping the assists at about the same level.
"Nate was a huge force for us this year," Fox said. "He likes to have the ball in pressure situations and he finds a way to score at the biggest of moments when we needed him most. Nate is a team player who helped those around him play better and stayed focused on the team goal of winning the CIF-SS championship. Nate has a unique ability to avoid slides and get shots off even while well covered by the defense. He is a balanced player that can run out of the midfield as well as the attack position."
Marano agreed that he thrives under pressure. This made him one of the leaders on Foothill and helped the team finish one of the most successful seasons in program history.
"I do like it when I have the ball in high pressure situations," Marano said. "I feel like my teammates and coaches trust me and that gives me confidence because I don't want to let them down."
Still, it's always been about the team for Marano. Foothill was 21-1 this season with its only loss coming against another regional power, Torrey Pines – a 14-13 setback on March 22. The Knights then reeled off 16 consecutive wins en route to the championships.
Marano called it a season he will remember the rest of his life.
"Our team this year made this season incredible," Marano said. "It is probably the best and closest team I've been a part of at Foothill and the best season I've had. It's really great to receive this recognition, but lacrosse is a team game, and I couldn't have done what I did without the entire team and coaching staff. Our face off guys and wings dominated and our defense got a lot of stops, giving our offense lots of opportunities, and we had so many offensive threats that it was difficult for teams to match up against all of us."
Marano has committed early to Denver and is excited to play for head coach Bill Tierney and assistant coach Matt Brown. In the offseason, he plans to work on becoming "bigger, faster, and stronger." The goal is to not only make another run at a CIF run next year at Foothill, but to also to get prepared for Denver.
"Coach Tierney is a lacrosse legend, and I really like the values he and Coach Brown promote and I can't wait to be a part of that offense," Marano said. "Being from California, I also really like the idea of being part of a western lacrosse program."
Spotlight On ...
Brighton (Utah) coach Brandon Horoba knew he had a solid corp of players entering the season, underscoring how the sport has continued to grow in the state of Utah.
When Brighton knocked off Corner Canyon (Utah) for the UHSLL State Championship, there were almost 4,000 people at the game. Horoba's team went undefeated in the state, finishing 18-1. The Bengals only loss was a 8-7 setback to Wheat Ridge (Colo.) before reeling off 15 straight victories.
Brighton was regarded as one of the most talented teams the state has produced.
"I knew going into the season we were going to be strong," Horoba said. "We had a lot of returning varsity players coming back and while we were still relying on young players I knew that they are very good players. I also knew that we had some sleeper players that no one really knew about that were going to be a big part of our success. To go undefeated against in state opponents was an added bonus to our year, it wasn't something we planned on or set a goal for ourselves to do. There are some very talented teams in this state and for us to accomplish that was great."
One of the keys for Brighton this season was balance. The X had six players on offense who were a threat to score. On one occasion, Horoba used mostly reserves in the second half of a game and the Bengals still managed to put up 18 points. Brighton scored 10 goals or more in 17 of 19 games and allowed six goals or less nine times.
"That is what made it so hard to defend our team," Horoba said. "You would think if you stop one or two guys you stood a chance, but that is when someone else would step up with a big goal or a big play to get the momentum going. "You can't have that success without having balance and a quality team."
Luke Fairman led the offense with four goals and two assists in the title game against Corner Canyon.
Sophomore Cole "Bubba" Fairman also made solid contributions. Also helping on attack were Ryan Fogarty (UCLA), Ashton Schmidt and Logan Lund, who was dominant from the X. The starting defense of Brody Bolerjack, Nathan Kenney and Bryson Taylor were also dominant with Quinton Matthie in goal with a save percentage higher than 60 percent.
Horoba said Utah is producing talented players and the sport's popularity is evident with increasing number of people attending games. Players are also learning the sport at a younger age, which also is boosting the game.
"Lacrosse is definitely continuing to grow in Utah," Horoba said. "Lacrosse is much more visible with games being seen all the time on weekends, high schools playing on their stadiums with large crowds and lacrosse goals in backyards around the state. BYU, Westminster and Utah play in front of good crowds consistently which shows not only are there a lot of people participating in the game, but a lot of people that enjoy watching the game. The lax IQ's of the players are getting higher because players are starting at such a younger age, which is only going to improve the level of play in Utah."
This concludes the season-long look at the boys' west region.
2014 West Region Report Archive
- February 25 - Preseason Top 10/Player of the Year Watch List
- March 18
- March 25
- April 1
- April 8
- April 15
- April 22
- April 29
- May 6
- May 13
- May 20
- May 27
- June 3
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